Stress Support for a Calm MoodFeb 25, 2021
By, Henry Emmons, MD
Stress Support Benefits
Stress Support is a blend of herbs and nutraceuticals designed to do just what its name suggests: to support the body when it’s under stress.
I really like using blended products like this whenever possible. They are much more cost-effective than buying all the ingredients separately. And I think that when they are well-designed, there is a synergy that occurs when multiple ingredients come at the same problem in slightly different ways. That has been my experience with Stress Support.
Clearly, the pandemic has placed greater stress on nearly everyone. When stress is chronic like this, it can cause all sorts of imbalances that show up in different ways. Whatever your vulnerabilities are, the stress hormones act like fuel on the fire. Whether it is anxiety, depressed mood, insomnia, ruminating thoughts, irritability, digestive problems, body aches—you name it—the chronic stress response will heighten your symptoms and make it harder for you to return to baseline. You may need a little help in getting your emergency response to calm down.
Stress Support and Anxiety/Depression
There are two main systems involved with the stress response, and a third player that can keep the stress train moving, or put on the brakes, depending on its response to the stress. That third player is the mind, i.e. the thinking brain. As we all know, our thoughts about a stressful event have a lot to do with whether or not we experience it as stressful. That’s a larger topic that we won’t take on here, but it is terribly important. For now, though, let’s focus on the other two systems: the adrenal stress hormones and the autonomic nervous system.
The moment you perceive a threat, your adrenals release adrenaline, which prepares you for “fight or flight”. Cortisol comes out more slowly, but its effects are much longer-lasting. Think of adrenaline like gas used to start a fire and cortisol like tending the embers to keep the fire going. Together, they change the balance of power in the autonomic nervous system, shifting out of a peaceful state (the “parasympathetic system”) to a state of arousal (the “sympathetic system”). This creates all the physical symptoms we associate with stress: rapid breathing and heart rate, clammy hands, digestive problems, etc.
The ingredients in Stress Support can help bring both the adrenals and the autonomic nervous system back into balance. And it may even help calm down brain activity.
Stress Support includes 4 tonic herbs, known as “adaptogens”. Unlike medicinal herbs, adaptogens don’t target a specific symptom. They have a broader, more supportive impact on health. Ashwaganda, skullcap, eleuthero and rhodiola work together both to support the adrenal glands and to dampen the effects of cortisol.
There are also two powerful nutraceuticals—l-theanine and phosphatidylserine—that encourage the sympathetic nervous system to “stand down”, and also add a calming effect on brain activity by applying the brakes in the GABA/Glutamate system (learn more about balancing GABA and Glutamate at this NMH article).
I have found Stress Support to be an indispensable ally for my patients whose symptoms seem to be driven by ongoing stress. I’ve seen it calm anxiety, improve sleep, steady the mood, and soothe the mind, providing a fighting chance to rein in one’s fearful thoughts. It’s not magic, but it has been so consistently beneficial that I find I’m recommending it more and more often these days.
Stress Support Dosage and Use
The recommended starting dose for Stress Support is 1 capsule twice daily (morning and evening). Under periods of intense stress, it can be increased up to 3 or 4 capsules daily. It may be taken with meals (e.g. breakfast and supper). If it affects sleep, avoid taking it at bedtime.
Stress Support Side Effects
The tonic herbs are all considered quite safe, even for long-term use. L-theanine and phosphatidylserine are both naturally-occurring substances (i.e. you get them in food) and are also very well-tolerated. There are no known interactions with medications.
Most anything one takes can sometimes cause mild headaches or stomach upset, but I rarely see these with Stress Support. Because it is calming, there can be some mild sedation. If that is bothersome, then it’s best to take it all at night. On the other hand, about 10-15% of people seem to be activated by it, and then it should be avoided at bedtime.
*Note: Some of the supplements discussed in this article can cause side effects, but many people tolerate them much better than prescription medications. They are generally considered safe, however, they should not be started without your doctor’s knowledge and supervision. If you are taking medication already, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding any of these items. If you are considering going off medication, remember never to stop your medication suddenly—always consult with your doctor about how to safely taper off any psychiatric medication. See terms.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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